Benefits of Group Counseling
Group counseling in general is a therapy in which people those who have similar problems come together with a professional therapist. However, the therapist runs the session but each person contributes in some way like by listening to what others have to say and talking themselves (Berg, Landreth & Fall, 2013).
The focus of this report is about Group counseling that mainly focuses on issues like bullying of teenagers. It discusses about how effective group counseling are in relation with teenagers and an analysis of the chosen age group are discussed. The chosen intervention strategy here is Psychodrama, which is discussed along with bullying problems with teenagers.
Connecting with a group may feel terrifying at first, but there are many benefits with group counseling. Teenagers often feel that their problems are unique which leads them to loneliness. Joining a group of people who have same problems make teenagers feel validated, supported, and understood. By the use of developmentally appropriate activities, teens will be able to properly articulate feelings and social feedback that they would have problems expressing to adults. Groups also provide a safe and organized environment that allows kids to have positive social interactions with peers to build supportive bonds. Groups provide where both teens and adolescences gets to learn from social interactions. The counsellor acts as an active listener, providing useful feedback, and offering support. Group members also give feedbacks those are functions on social behaviors. As time passes group members take upon these behaviors and apply them in-group setting and in everyday lives. Moreover, Group counseling gives a platform for teens and adolescents to help others. At times children feel as if they cannot help others because they needed support themselves. However, in a group setting they understand that they have skills and experience that may be helpful to their friends. The ability of helping others is in itself therapeutic and increases self-esteem and self-worth. By using structured activities, the therapist educates with proven strategies to survive with specific problems. Group members will get the chance to practice these skills in a safe environment and receive feedback. With time, group members begin including these strategies into their daily life activities (Harper & Cole, 2012).
Research studies specify that group counseling is very effectual for children especially because it indicates that teenagers gain greatly from group therapy. There are ample reasons for this type of cases. Middle school children and early high school have reached a better cognitive grip of what emotions are, and can differentiate fine contrast in feelings. Nonetheless, they are also obtaining the capacity to think conceptually and think about the thought processes of their own and this often guides to contradictory feelings. However, feelings can be quite immense for teenagers (Geldard, Geldard, & Foo, 2013).
Challenges Faced by Teenagers
By group counseling, teens might communicate in a way that neutralizes these feelings and experiences. They are able to learn about their insights, the effect their behavior has on others, and are able to collect feedback from peers. At this age it is developmentally suitable for adolescents to opt for feedback from peers than adults, and this is another reason why adolescents are often more open to this treatment.
Group counseling is also beneficial for younger children. Children at this age have a restricted understanding of emotions and can often easily alter and get reactive. The interactions that are guided with peers can increase emotional intelligence and grow social skills, which are critical developmental goals for this age group (DeLucia-Waack, Kalodner, & Riva, 2013).
This report deals with the age group of teenagers, the range of age falls in between 13 to 19. There are many challenges and issues faced at this time by the teenagers at this period, which are:
Today teenagers face with this common problem of addiction. A number of reasons are there apart from peer pressure due to which they could get indulge in it. These problems worsen when parents do not have time for their children (Koziyakov & Kutiyanova, 2014).
Teens of today get easily involved in a relationship, which may also include physical attachments that leads to risky sex causing unwanted pregnancy or other sexually transmitted diseases (Seiffge-Krenke, 2013)
Spending ample amount of money behind their clothes and other beauty products this group of people known as teens are never satisfied. It is not possible for all teenagers to look beautiful all the time and so they feel depressed and become introvert as well as isolated (Grogan, 2016).
In this age teenagers tries to do well in all spheres of whatever they are doing and for this they indulge in more activities then they actually should. As a result, they might work too much and fall sick as well as become restless.
The cause of depression can be both personal as well as academic. Mood swings are common among teens. If depression continues for longer period then it can become dangerous. This problem of Eating disorder is associated with teenage or adolescence girls who in fear of getting fat indulge herself in extreme diet resulting in anemia or anorexia (Nathan & Gorman, 2015).
Cybercrimes are much more common these days as the teenagers are greatly involved in internet. Teenagers’ gets into unwanted troubles and become victims of stalkers. This not only hampers their sleep but also make them inattentive in studies as well as other activities (Boyd, 2014).
Bullying is that kind of behavior where the other person is made to feel insufficient and down in front of others. Physical harm, harassment, daily repeated demeaning speech is what bullying is about. Bullying can be both physical as well as verbal. A number of side effects are there of teenage bullying, physical problems and injuries are common which the outcome of physical bullying is. Verbal, emotional and cyber bullying also affects teens severely. Continuous bullying can lead teenagers towards depression leading towards suicide, drug addiction and restricted social development (Hinduja & Patchin, 2014).
Psychodrama is a method of psychotherapy evolved in the mid-1930s by J. L. Moreno (1889– 1974). It is relevant mainly in groups, but with alterations can also be used for family therapy and with individuals. The therapist asks a client to role-play some feature of the client’s problem, and the therapist then apply psycho dramatic techniques. When the method is applied in a group setting, other group members may be asked to act the roles of the other people in the situation. The performance is then followed by sharing and discussion (Baim, Burmeister, & Maciel, 2013).
Children affected from bullying at home or at school often suffer from depression, anxiety, isolation, lower self-esteem and self worth and may develop trust issues and in future, it gets difficult to build new relationships. Psychodrama in teenagers often deals in reducing these problems. As said by Erikson and other therapists this enactment help in dealing with conflicts and anxieties. Psychodrama therapy helps teenagers for whom verbal methods are not sufficient. As the psychotherapist is ready to attend the child at any space they are in, be it angry, frustrated, and refusing to talk, restless or anxious and because this therapy accesses the imagination, thus it is safe and familiar method for children. This is especially true for those who have a difficult time trusting or connecting with adults or who might have otherwise struggle in therapy (?ahin, 2012).
Challenges faced by the counselor in-group counseling
Counselors face huge challenges dealing with different types of teenagers and some of them are discussed below:-
- Different types of teenagers are taking part in-group counseling and so there will occur differences in opinion. Thus, among them, the dominating one will try to dominate everyone and others may not get a chance to explain their behavior. This is when the counselor face the challenge because here he has to solve it respecting others views.
- There will be certain comments that will be passed while sharing the opinions among the group members. This can leave any teenager in frustration. Now the Counselor has to help them so that they do not get into depression.
- Group counselor has to make the way for the fear of rejection among the teenagers. Teenagers may not feel comfortable to disclose their problems and this may cause certain trouble.
- Counselors should have that capacity to face the challenge where he has to manage the inherit risks that the teenagers will confidentially break through at some point of time. It may take certain private sessions as well (McLeod, 2013).
There are certain limitations for the group counselors and they are as follows:-
- Be it children or adults every client be respected equally. It is the counselor’s duty to prepare a treatment plan along with the client so that both of them agree with it.
- Counselors are bound to keep the confidentiality of the clients about the information shared in the sessions.
- Counselors should only practice where their expertise lies and where they have been trained. They should not practice outside their expertise without proper training and supervision.
- Counselors are limited to not to have any type of personal relationship with their clients. Counselors may not follow relationships with clients or any other person associated with clients like any of their friends or family members. Counselors may attend certain types of events, with a client’s consent or invitation, because of possible emotional interests for the clients.
- Counselors should accept their own limitations based on prior experiences or emotional fights. Professionalism must be kept so that counselors does not become emotionally intricate or angry when dealing about cases like child abuse.
- The counselor’s moral responsibility is to motivate client’s independent thinking and decision-making, and to discourage all sorts of client dependency (Campbell, 2013).
Most people think of individual therapy where a one to one session is done among the teen and the therapist. Therapist or the counselors are trained persons who help the teenagers deal with challenges and difficulties in their life. Through individual counseling needs like grief and loss, trauma, attention-deficiency-hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety of the teenagers can be dealt with. Individual counseling can benifit the teenagers in many ways like by modifying attention and support. Counselors support teenagers to talk on those topics that they publicly cannot talk. The teenagers are also helped with those areas in their sphere of life, which they avoid discussing with their parents. Parents are too busy these days in the rat race so as to secure their future. Thus, counselors provide guidance that parents cannot. Initially the teens might feel a little shy about this one to one session. Teens should be encouraged to get involved in these sessions (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2016).
Limitations of Group Counseling
Group counseling is where the teenagers not only get benefited from the therapist but also from the other participants as well. Teenagers who resist treatments can be benefited from group counseling. Group counseling actually ensures that teenagers are not alone when discussing about their problems and struggles along with them. It not only helps in gaining support but also in supporting other teenagers. This in return helps in easy bonding and supportive relationships. Group counseling also makes teenagers supportive and socialized. Self-awareness becomes stronger by listening to others with the same problems and challenges faced. When one is in a group where others are also dealing with the same problem, it makes the teenagers open up more easily and come up with the problems, which usually they want to hide and may feel shy. Group counseling are much cheaper than individual therapy (Capuzzi & Gross, 2013).
In group counseling teenagers develop insights of their own problems by listening to other persons in the group. Clients who are the teenagers actually learn from each other and can practice interpersonal and problem solving skills. On the other hand, individual counseling is not only expensive but also it is a deep therapeutic experience. In individual counseling, it is more acute and comprehensive. In individual counseling, the needs of the clients are personally met. The counselors are well trained in both the groups who help the clients. The Group counseling is where the attention of the counselor is divided among all the members of the group (Karterud & Bateman, 2012).
Therefore, from the above report it can be concluded that one to one counseling is ineffective for younger people as they have an already existing distrust for adults and thus they might not fully open up. Thus in these cases group counseling are beneficial as they come along with other teenagers facing the same problems and thus it becomes easier to cross the barriers and feel that they are not the only one dealing with this kind of a problem. Teenagers become more willing to open up with their challenges and issues they are facing. The teenagers are found overcoming their hesitations and developing a support system inside group counseling.
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